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5 Top Takeaways from the Pulse of Donor Relations Survey

It's been a week or so since the results of the Pulse of Donor Relations survey went public, and I have to say I'm humbled and inspired by your responses. This year's report received a huge facelift thanks to my designer partner, Tyler Wessel- check out his amazing work here. If you haven't read it yet, you can download the survey here as well. I would like to share some of my key takeaways with you and would also ask that you leave your key learnings in the comments below! 1. Our experience level continues to deepen, even as we welcome hundreds of new professionals into donor relations. In addition, donor relations is emerging as a career of choice in advancement with a huge importance on tenure, we love our jobs and stay with the field for a long time! 73% of us want to stay in the field. At a recent 4 Pillars conference in Atlanta, there were no less than 5 people in the room that had left a career in front line fundraising for the wonderful world of creating magical donor experiences! #winning 2. Conversely, less than half of us have strategic plans!! We will fail to grow in importance and depth as a profession until we elevate from task based positions to strategic thinking. One must not simply strive to do the work involved with our donors, to check a list off (which is really satisfying) but we must also constantly inquire, is there more? How do I strategize for the future of our donors' needs? What else can be enhanced? Donor Relations is not a series of tasks to reach an outcome, it is a lifestyle and vocation centered around the donor experience. 3. Honor Rolls and traditional recognition continues to fall by the wayside. As the self- proclaimed list killer this continues to be music to my ears. I recently heard from someone that they had a staff transition and the annual list of donors fell by the wayside and by the time they went to pick it back up not a SINGLE donor complained so they eliminated it - A chorus of cheers rang out! Keep up the good work killing those nonsensical sacred cows! 5. Future Trends: Here are the repeated themes I'm seeing in this question:

  •  Custom, custom, custom, getting to KNOW our donors and that one size does NOT    fit all. 

  • Digital Digital Digital- the more video and digital the better- it also further enhances the unicorn like nature of the hand-written, special touch!

  • A strong desire from donors for increased accountability and transparency with their funds, regardless of amounts

Finally, when asked what you want the fundraising world to know about donor relations, the answers were profound and inspiring. Here is a word cloud of your responses:

What are your thoughts after reading the results? Please add them below! Again my deepest gratitude to the more than 3000 of you that contributed!  Cheers, Lynne


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